Another fine dawn saw us ready for the challenge of cycling the trail that begins in Alexandra and makes its way down the Clutha River gorge. The trail is not yet complete and to do it as one continuous ride you have the option of getting a jetboat pickup to take you over the untracked portion.
The ride follows a well formed track down the gorge – some steep switch – backed sections test the nerves and confidence of cyclists. One or two spots have precipitous drops down into the moody fast moving River bellow. Wonderful views abound and this ride is simply stunning. After about 10 Kms we arrived at Doctors point which has a great dump station – a small room with a magnificent view back up the river. This is also the point where we were picked up by the jet boat that took us about 12 Kms further downstream to rejoin the track.
The jet-boat was a highlight – was a great historical tour looking at the old gold workings that were extensive in this rugged gorge. Chinese gold seekers followed the Europeans and reworked the ground. Evidence of the extremely primitive dwellings used by these miners abound.
The skipper of the “Beamont Jets ” boat service is a real character and took time to show us all the points of interest surrounding the gold miners. Tells some great yarns – said one Mrs Heron raised 6 or 7 ( some historical debate here) children in this little cottage – way back in the 1860’s
Our destination for the day was Millers Flat – was a great one dayer. We covered 54 Kms . The last 30 Kms is easier , the trail follows the river below the Clutha Dam and Roxburgh and mostly very fast and not challenging. The day’s got hot at about 29 degrees c and we both started to wilt a little. I managed to get a bus back up the highway and relocated the fifth wheel back to Millers Flat pub where Barb had to be extracted from the pub.
Worth doing ?? Definitely in our view – this ride complements the Otago Rail Trail and if time permits one should do both if you are in this special corner of nz.
The track continues down river tomorrow – destination Lawrence